The latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for Mobile Data Service Providers reveals that South African consumers express low levels of loyalty to their mobile data service providers and are generally disappointed with the service they receive from them.
Customer loyalty trends have shown a consistent decline over the past three annual indices, with the industry average declining from 71.1% in 2014 to 59.2% in 2016.
MTN’s customers show the lowest loyalty to their brand with a score of 54.7%, down almost 10% from 2015, followed by Telkom Mobile at 59.2% compared to 67.7% last year. Cell C and Vodacom compare well with the customer loyalty industry average (59.2%) with scores of 61% and 61.6% respectively, albeit low in comparison to other industries measured in the SAcsi.
“South Africans are limited to a handful of mobile data service providers who are among the most expensive in the world. This frustration is evident in the ongoing #DataMustFall movement that adds impetus to the views that South Africans have held for years: they feel ripped off by high data costs, and will move to a more cost-effective service provider without hesitation,” says Prof Adré Schreuder, CEO of Consulta.
This is further indicated in the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is calculated as the difference between the percentage of promoters or customers who recommended your brand, and detractors or customers who did not recommend your brand. The NPS yielded an industry average of 1%. Telkom received the lowest sentiment with a score of -9%, followed closely by MTN at -4% with Cell C narrowly above the industry average at 2%. Vodacom received a score of 9%.
The 2016 SAcsi for Mobile Data Service Providers benchmarks customer satisfaction through an internationally recognised model to achieve an overall result out of 100. The index provides a weighted average of the various aspects of a customer’s experience with the mobile data service provider, and the degree to which the product or service has met, fallen short of, or exceeded their expectations.
The data returned in this index reveals some of the lowest sets of scores across the SAcsi industries surveyed by Consulta this year.
The average industry score for the 2016 SAcsi Mobile Data Service Providers is 67.8 out of a score of 100. A score below 70 on the SAcsi is deemed low. The SAcsi score has continued declining over the past three years, this year MTN received the lowest score at 65.9 followed by Cell C (66.2), Telkom Mobile (68.2), with Vodacom marginally leading the industry average with a score of 69.7.
When it comes to customer expectations, the index reveals Vodacom customers expect the most of their supplier with a score of 76.0, above the industry average of 74.2. Telkom Mobile and MTN are on par with the industry average while Cell C customers expect a lower level of service at 70.4.
Looking at the ability of mobile network providers to deliver the services they promise, Cell C came the closest to delivering on this. Cell C also obtained the lowest percentage of customer complaints and the highest score for successfully handling customer problems and complaints. Telkom Mobile and MTN customers experienced the largest service delivery gap, indicating that these service providers are not living up to customer’s expectations to the degree that Cell C customers reported.
“It seems that Cell C is the only brand not creating unrealistic expectations that they are unable to meet,” says Schreuder. “Telkom Mobile’s low score may be linked to its recent uncapped LTE promotion, which it released without fully explaining the fair-use policy attached to the offer.”
The provision of mobile data is a fast moving and highly competitive industry. The service provider that is able to address the reasons for the continuous decline in customer satisfaction and service delivery, will be able minimise customer churn and regain customer loyalty.
Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards
The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.
The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).
Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”
Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award. She has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).
The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:
The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognition, Age cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.
Cons exploit Telegram ICO
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.
In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.
The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.
Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.
“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:
- Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
- Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
- Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.